Date: 4/14/17 5:35 pm From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] Finishing off my TCC list - Day Seven - Franklin and Delta Counties
Greetings All: At this point, I was still ahead of schedule, I was expecting my brother, Martin Campbell to join me in the evening, and I had every reason to take it easy. But I just wasn't in the mood and decided to put in another long day and take the long shot at finishing off two more counties.
I hit Franklin County at 7:20 in the ayem. It was a fairly challenging county as the list was at a somewhat intimidating 31 species (acquired during drive throughs in August of 2001, May of 2003, and October of 2014). It took a little over six hours but I worked that list right on up to 103 species with a route featuring Mary King Park, Dogwood Park, Walleye Park, and Overlook Park - all at Lake Cypress Springs and each kicking out novel species for the county, the working my way along CR 2723, CR 3122, and FM 115 to Lake Mt. Vernon City, then along FM 115 and Highway 37 to the Franklin/Red River County line, then along Highway 37 and Highway 71 to the Franklin/Hopkins County line. Number 100 was 2 Green-winged Teals on a small pond near Hagensport. Pad species: Northern Shoveler at 101, Brewer's Blackbird at 102, and Lark Sparrow at 103. Highlights included the only Herring Gull of the trip - from Dogwood Park - and the very good diversity of sparrows at Lake Mt. Vernon City.
The quick dash through Hopkins County was slowed by two good ponds along my Highway 71, CR 1535, and Highway 154 route, allowing me to boost its total from 39 to 61 (giving Martin and me an edge during the next day's efforts) and I hit Delta County at 1:10.
An aside: Gregg County reminded me of the character Gollum from fantasy literature: small, misshapen, and difficult to work with. Delta County, on the other hand, reminded my of Tyrion Lannister from more recent fantasy literature: small, elegant, and a joy to spend time with. This was pretty amazing as my efforts in Delta County were building on a previous mid-March visit, making this, in essence, a split across the years, of a TCC big day.
In Delta County I focused on working its access points to Lake Cooper and then exploring the FM 895 from Post Oak Kensing and back before heading back down to the Delta/Hopkins County line. By 5:00 I had worked my list of 70 species (tallied during a visit in March of 2013) all the way up to 101 species. Number 100 was a Loggerhead Shrike near Kensing. The sole pad species: Fox Sparrow at 101. Highlights were 2 Fish Crows losing a fight over fish guts to Ring-billed Gulls at the Jones North Unit of Cooper Lake State Park ... and FM 895 which, with woodlots, open fields, and ponds and creek crossings galore put me over the top ... after almost, but not quite, making it at the Jones North Unit.
Counties 251 and 252 were checked off and I had plenty of time to make it back to Mineola (bumping my Wood County list up to 81 on the way) in time to get the brother checked in to a room, meet the brother, and get the brother to dinner in time to have something of an evening/night/early morning for bourbon and banter. The latter went until 2:30 in the ayem - my first lapse of total discipline during the trip - but, hey, I don't see Martin nearly as often as I like and we had us some catching up to do.